The Games Institute (GI) Official Podcast

GI pod

Start listening now on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your Podcasts. Select episodes will also be available on YouTube

Marisa Benjamin, Research Communications Officer, and Toben Racicot, English PhD candidate, co-host the Games Institute Podcast. Every episode we spotlight a researcher from the GI and interview them about how their research impacts the study and culture of games and interactive technologies.

Jump to the most recent episode


Why a Podcast?

The unfortunate reality of academic work is that many great research stories never reach public audiences. Either findings are not accessible to general publics, or stories about insights gained from failure are not shared beyond a small sphere of peers.

This problem has to do with how research is communicated. Scholarly research is predominantly shared with scholarly audiences who exist within the same scholarly bubble. Moreover, there are standards about which stories to tell and how to tell them, thereby limiting how we communicate. Are you subscribed to every scholarly journal? Do you attend conferences from diverse disciplinary fields? Are you privvy to the small moments in research that get overshadowed by big discoveries? Likely not.

A podcast allows us to pop the bubble and bring you research discussions as they're happening. We invite researchers to sit down and talk about what they're up to. No word counts, no jargon, no registration or subscription fee.

You get to hear about the GI researchers' successes - and failures - and learn about the person behind the scholarly curtain.


GI Podcast 001 - Press Start

Our introductory episode where we introduce ourselves, the Games Institute, and our vision for the podcast.

Researchers rarely have opportunities to talk about their work without worrying about word counts, time limits, or wordy jargon. The GI Podcast is a place where researchers can express their successes - and failures - and discuss where they hope to go next.

GI Podcast 002 - Asymmetric Play With John Harris

On this episode, we invited John HarrisComputer Science Ph. D. candidate, and GI member to discus his research with asymetric cooperative games.

We also discuss Harris' game "Beam Me Round Scotty!" which was created for his study with asymetric cooperative gameplay.

GI Podcast 003 - Cooperative Gaming with Rina Wehbe

On this episode, we invited Rina Wehbe, Computer Science Ph.D. candidate, and GI member to discuss everything from her biography, her unification of Psychology and Computer Science, and her past and present research projects. 

Rina briefly discusses her early education and most interestingly her transition from a B.Sc. in Psychology to a M.Sc. in Computer Science. She disputes the assumption that the two areas of study are loosely tied, and expresses their connectedness to one another.

GI Podcast 004 - VR Futures with Alex Fleck

In this episode we are joined by Alex Fleck, an English PhD candidate whose research focus sits at the intersection of VR, gamification, and semiotics. He worked on the team that developed the SSHRC funded game "Hustle and Flow" - a table-top game to simulate water governance in the St. Lawrence River basin - and is currently our unofficial VR expert.

GI Podcast 005 - Video Games & Mental Health with Tina Chan

In this episode we are joined by Tina Chan, as she discusses her work with mental health and video games. Tina discusses her project Merlynne as well as the PASS kit project. 

GI Podcast 006 - User Personalization Research with Gustavo Tondello

In this episode we are joined by Gustavo TondelloComputer Science PhD, as he discusses his User Personalization Research. He discusses human computer interaction to better technology in serving peoples needs. He also discusses his player preferences model, the Hexad model, to place people into different player profiles. The Hexad model uses a questionnare that helps categorize different types of gamers.

GI Podcast 007 - Public Health Systems with Marina Wada

In this episode we are joined by Marina Wada, Msc. student in Public Health Systems, as she chats about her user research study exploring how rehumatoid arthritis paitents and their physicians can be better supported in shared decision making and how digital decision aid tools can help mediatie the interaction. 

GI Podcast 008 - Player Profiles & Customization with Stuart Hallifax

In this episode we are joined by Stuart HallifaxComputer Science student from Lyon, discusses his research into player preferences, customizable gaming objectives, and user research. We talk in depth about his study, D&D, and games that bring weighty choices to the forefront.

GI Podcast 009 - IMMERSe & Knowledge Mobilization with Krystyna Oakman

In this episode we are joined by Krystyna Oakmanas she discusses her academic journey working at the Games Institute, knowledge mobilization and creative play.

GI Podcast 010 - Farming Simulators and Achievement Hunting with Sid Heeg

In this episode we are joined by Sid Heeg, as they discuss their love of farming, its importance in modern society, surrounding rhetorics, and achievement hunting.

GI Podcast 011: Variantology: Video Games and Comic Books with Michael Hancock

In this episode we are joined by Michael Hancock to talk RPGs, his dissertation research, gaming books, and branching into comic scholarship.

GI Podcast 012: Revisiting Player Profiles & Personalization with Stuart Hallifax

Stuart joins us once more to discuss his research conclusions before heading back to France.

GI Podcast 013: Comic Book Scholarship with Three Panel Contrast

Hosts of Three Panel Contrast, Dr. Anna Peppard, Dr. J. Andrew Deman, and Dr. Michael Hancock join the show to talk about comic book scholarship, carving a place for discussion themselves, and adapting comic books for the screen--both movies and games.

GI Podcast 014: Wisdom Psychology and Games with Igor Grossmann

Dr Igor Grossmann discusses wisdom, podcasting, and Dungeons & Dragons.

GI Podcast 015: 2019 in Review

Marisa and Toben walk back through the guests and topics on The Games Institute Podcast in 2019.

GI Podcast 016: Systems of Discovery with Neil Randall

Neil Randall, Executive Director of the Games Institute joins Marisa and Toben to discuss board games, simulation, teaching philosophy, and the origins of the Games Institute.

GI Podcast 017: Queer Intimate Fandoms with Elise Vist

Elise Vist guests to discuss hockey, fan fiction, fandoms, and queering academia

GI Podcast 018: Responsible Research and Ethical Innovation with Grace Wright

Grace talks ethics in research and innovation, and explains her work with UW’s new Council for Responsible Innovation and Technology (CRIT)

GI Podcast 019: Destiny & Cross-Disciplinary Interactive Experiences with Lia A. Black

Lia Black discusses Destiny, Cross-Disciplinary Interactive Experiences, her many research projects, and the potential of a triple crown: three degrees from uWaterloo.

GI Podcast 020: Game Poetics and Iterative Design with AC Atienza

AC Atienza leaves us speechless in their explanation of game poetics: novel game studies research to end all ludology/narratology debates. We chat about how iterative design through Energize and Captain's Gambit bolsters AC's research.

GI Podcast 021: Gameful Solutions with Maximilian Altmeyer

In this episode, Maximilian Altmeyer expands our knowledge on the processes behind personalized gamification, previously introduced in our episodes with Gustavo Tondello and Stuart Hallifax. Max also shares some innovative applications he’s worked on using gamification strategies... spoiler alert: he talks about a game for washing your hands.

GI Podcast 022: Merging Form and Content with Justin Carpenter

Justin Carpenter talks form and content in games and literature, working to master challenges in games, and the death (or rebirth) of the author/designer.

GI Podcast 023: Cooperative Games Panel with Lindsay Meaning, Rina Wehbe, and Marcela Bomfim

This special episode gives you the audio from an interdisciplinary panel with GI graduate researchers Lindsay Meaning, Rina Webhe, and Marcela Bomfim. Our speakers brought in their unique perspectives and expertise to discuss the co-operative games Spirit Island (2017; board game) and Overcooked 2 (2018; video game).We used these games as a springboard for a larger discussion about the genre of co-operative games: What are these games all about and why would people play them? How are they different from one another in form, content, and player experience?

GI Podcast 024: Horizon Zero Dawn Multidisciplinary Panel with John Harris, Nicholas Hobin, and Karina Arrambide

We’re rewinding time to 2 years ago when we hosted this panel live at the Games Institute. Moderated by Marisa Benjamin, our panelists John Harris, Nicholas Hobin, and Karina Arrambide explore Horizon Zero Dawn from the perspectives of their research fields. We get into feminism, animal studies, player experiences, game design, and much more.

GI Podcast 025: Five Nights at Freddy's Panel with Betsy Brey and Pamela Maria Schmidt

Game Institute researchers Betsy Brey and Pamela Maria Schmidt discuss all facets of Five Nights at Freddy's in this special Halloween event.

GI Podcast 026 (also with video): COVID Update and Research Chat with Toben Racicot

Marisa and Toben sit down to catch up with what's been going since March 2020. They discuss COVID activities, future guests, and begin digging into Toben's RPG research.

GI Podcast 027 (also with video): Apocalyptic Video Game Narratives with Pamela Maria Schmidt

Pamela Maria Schmidt joins the show to discuss her Master's MRP researching apocalyptic narratives in video games, technologies, maintaining one's culture through games, and why the Witcher is so important to her.

Back to the Gallery of Research Productions

IMMERSe Network

Follow us on twitter!